Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
In the past month I’ve featured five UK urban artists as Future Stars, more than the rest of 2017 put together: British rap and R&B are definitely having a moment. The commercial success of Stormzy has played a big part – although the British rap scene retained a loyal fanbase over the past five years, he was its first household name since the days of Tinie Tempah and N-Dubz. Since his album hit no.1 in March, acts including J Hus, Yungen and Stefflon Don have broken the top 10, and a rap group won The X Factor. Already featured in several 2018 tip lists, with a top 40 hit under his belt, Not3s is next in line to make his name. Similar to Dave and Yxng Bane, he’s a charismatic London teenager who sing-raps about everyday life. His most famous track is Addison Lee, a repetitive (and therefore memorable) viral hit about splashing out on an expensive taxi to collect a “peng ting” (attractive lady) called Maddison because his account is blocked on Uber. There are no gangs and drugs in these songs – just #relatable content, like a musical equivalent of The Lad Bible. As such, it makes total sense for 2017. Addison Lee became a hit this summer with the support of Radio 1 and Capital Xtra. Signed to Sony imprint Relentless, and published by Tinie Tempah, he has released several singles and an EP, and recently collaborated with Tinie and fellow breakout star Mabel. His super-specific lyrics and love of outerwear also make me wonder if he may have been an inspiration for Big Shaq’s Man’s Not Hot – and what could be more zeitgeist than inspiring a novelty hit?